Students + writing = frustration . . . sound like familiar?
The growing expectation of integrating writing in our Social Studies classroom makes us as anxious about the process as our students. Why does this happen? There are a variety of factors that contribute to this fear and frustration but the most common that I hear from other teachers is
I don’t have a solid system to assist my kids with writing.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen the instructional strategy pendulum swing over to encouraging more use of evidence by students to solve authentic problems. And there’s tons of stuff out there to help us and students make sense of primary and secondary sources.
But a lot of people don’t seem to be aware of the excellent work that the History Project at the University of California, Irvine does with helping student evaluate evidence. We have been perhaps overloaded with Wineburg’s stuff so much that we don’t think that we need to go out and look for other types of tools.
Don’t get me wrong, Sam. I absolutely love your stuff. Sourcing, contextulization, corroborating. I am all in. But we always said that it’s okay to date other people. And the History Project has some useful stuff.
A recent Time magazine article lists what it calls the 20 most influential Americans of all time. It’s an interesting list. Four presidents, two social activists, two women, assorted scientists and inventors, a couple of explorers, and an athlete and musician thrown in for good measure. Many famous, a few not so much.
I’ve cross-posted this article from History Tech because the article discussed below is just that useful. So . . . if you’ve already seen this, head back to the article and keep reading!
As the discipline continues to shift its practice towards asking kids to solve problems using evidence and encouraging the development of historical thinking skills, more and more social studies teachers are integrating the use of primary sources into their instructional designs. Several days ago, I posted a quick overview that highlighted 10 things to think about while using primary sources.
And if you’ve been reading History Tech for any amount of time, you know that I love the use of evidence – especially the use of primary sources.
In an effort to improve the writing skills of my students and better prepare them for the Kansas Writing Assessment, the Multidisciplinary Performance Task, I have begun implementing the Stoplight Writing strategy. I attempted to use this strategy in my classroom last year, but as a last ditch effort before the test rather than a regular activity the students experienced throughout the entire school year.
This year however, my students are writing every unit using stoplight writing, and the dramatic difference in the finished products from last year to this year are extraordinary. Last year I feared that my 7th grade students didn’t know how to write a complete sentence, this year I am finding that my expectations for the students are too low and every unit I raise the standards for their finished work. Continue reading Stop! In the Name of…Writing?→